Why It Took Eddie Murphy Almost 30 Years To Make Beverly Hills Cop 4


  • Eddie Murphy’s return to the Beverly Hills Cop franchise after 30 years is due to his desire to redeem the series following the third film.
  • A Beverly Hills Cop TV series pilot was shot with Murphy making a guest appearance as Axel Foley. However, the show was ultimately not produced.
  • Murphy’s recent streaming hits, such as Dolemite Is My Name, have contributed to the timing of Beverly Hills Cop 4 and attracted a strong supporting cast. This may be Murphy’s final time reprising Axel, potentially ending the series on a high note.



It took Eddie Murphy 30 years to return to his most iconic character in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley – which might have been a good thing. Murphy’s rise to stardom during the ’80s was meteoric, where he first broke out on Saturday Night Live before starring in back-to-back hits like 48 Hrs, Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop. Like any movie star, Murphy’s stock rose and fell in later years, so when his R-rated comedies began to flag, he had a fresh string of hits with more family-friendly outings like Dr. Dolittle.

In recent years, Murphy has been on another roll of hits with the likes of Dolemite Is My Name and Coming 2 America. He’s one of those rarest of stars who can reinvent themselves for new generations while still appealing to older viewers, and after nearly 30 years away, he’s finally returned to the Beverly Hills Cop movie franchise. The success of the 1984 original is what truly cemented his stardom, but Murphy’s hate for the Beverly Hills Cop sequels led him to turn away from the series for a while

Related: Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley – Confirmation, Release Date Prediction & Everything We Know About Beverly Hills Cop 4

Beverly Hills Cop 4 Has Been In Development Hell Since The 1990s

Murphy was reluctant to return as Axel Foley

Despite the success of Tony Scott’s Beverly Hills Cops II, Murphy felt the first sequel was “mediocre,” and during an appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio he dubbed the third film “atrocious.” In the case of the latter, Murphy tried to make Axel a more mature character who made fewer jokes, but this resulted in an oddly lifeless outing. In the aftermath of the third movie underperforming, Beverly Hills Cop 4 spent decades in development hell.

One rejected concept for Beverly Hills Cop III involved Axel Foley teaming up with Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee.

Many filmmakers and writers took cracks at it, but they all fizzled out or didn’t appeal to Murphy. Filmmakers like Brett Ratner or Bad Boys for Life co-director helmers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah came and went on differing concepts, one of which involved Axel returning to Beverly Hills when his old pal Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) is murdered. These takes all fell apart for various reasons, be it script or budget concerns. For his part, Murphy refused to sign off on a screenplay if he didn’t like it, as he wanted to redeem the franchise following the third movie.

A Beverly Hills Cop TV Show Almost Happened (& Might’ve Changed Beverly Hills Cop 4)

CBS planned a big-budget TV spinoff

brandon t jackson as aaron foley in beverly hills cop pilot

Amidst the difficulty in getting another sequel off the ground, the property nearly went in a very different direction. In the early 2010s CBS greenlit a Beverly Hills Cop TV pilot, where Axel’s son Aaron (Brandon T. Jackson) is another cop who heads to Beverly Hills for a case. In addition to featuring a similar setup to the original, Murphy himself made a guest appearance as Axel, who comes down to help Aaron out and provide a little comic relief.

The pilot had a lot going for it, including Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) directing. In 2013, however, CBS passed on producing the Beverly Hills Cop show, apparently because Murphy ranked so high with test audiences they were concerned it wouldn’t work unless he became a regular. Had the series gone ahead and been a success, this might have been the direction the franchise took, with Jackson becoming the new lead. That said, given that Murphy stole the pilot despite only having around ten minutes of screen time, it may have just made the audience desire for Beverly Hills Cop 4 that much higher.

Eddie Murphy’s Comeback Makes The Timing Of Beverly Hills Cop 4 Better

Murphy has had a string of streaming hits like Dolemite Is My Name

Eddie Murphy as Akeem Joffer looking shocked in Coming 2 America

Either way, plans for a fourth film went back to the drawing board and the cycle of new screenplays and directors began again. Thanks to movies like Dolemite Is My Name, Murphy’s comeback has worked in Axel Foley’s favor, as it proved Murphy was still popular with audiences. Coming 2 America may have received lukewarm notices but it was still a streaming success, so Netflix pushed hard for Beverly Hills Cop 4 to happen. It appears the extra time in the oven paid off since it attracted a supporting cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige and Kevin Bacon.

More than that, it also brings cast members like Reinhold, John Ashton and Bronson Pinchot, and test screenings for Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley has reportedly been met with raves. Whether it proves to be a success or not, the sequel will probably be Murphy’s final time donning Axel’s Detroit Lions jacket, so hopefully, it will end the series on a strong note.

  • Beverly Hills Cop 4 Poster

    Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley

    Mark Molloy

    Eddie Murphy, Kevin Bacon, John Ashton



    Will Beall




    Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Beverly Hills Cop 3

    Beverly Hills Cop


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